Thursday, February 24, 2005

Blast From The Past

Way back in the day, when I was fresh out of college, circa 1994-95, I played with a couple of guys, trying to get a band together. It was my first attempt at trying to put together a band. The guitar player, Joel Sain, lived in my building and we had been jamming in my apartment for a while. If I recall correctly, it was mostly his enthusiasm that got me motivated, but I don't think any of us really knew what it took to get a band off the ground. I forget how we met up with Aaron Krause, the drummer, but he owned a car detailing place (Dedication to Detail) and had a makeshift factory for making his patented pads, the Edge Pads. Anyway, we would set up in that Corning warehouse in Manayunk on Main Street right before Green Lane, across the street from the CD place, and Mom's Bake at Home Pizza. And mostly we just messed around, and tried to audition singers since neither Joel or Aaron could sing and I couldn't sing and play at the same time at all. We didn't really have a name, I recall, we batted some around, including, for a brief time, the horrendously innapropriate acronym "N.H.S.K". (You'll have to ask me in private what that meant.)
Aaron seemed to really like "Tennesee Bumpkin", probably because he thought of it, I don't remember. So that's the name he left when called the store looking for me yesterday. Didn't take me very long to figure out who that could possibly be, since Aaron and Joel are probably the only two people in the world who knew what that meant. So, it was a pleasant surprise to hear from Aaron, though I still have yet to hear from Joel, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time. (Though Aaron says Joel googled me a while back and found me at Springboard and sent me an email, but I don't remember ever getting it.)
Anyway, we didn't really go anywhere, since we could never find a front man. But we did manage have a lot of fun, including those times Aaron "convinced" us to do some work for him making pads. We also managed to record some of the things we were doing at the time. If I remember correctly, we jammed Aaron's massive 9 piece kit, Joel's 2X12 amp and my 150W amp with the 15" speaker into the room Aaron was using as an office, it may have been 10x10, and set up two room mikes and had my friend Shawn Travis, who wrote the lyrics to what I'm calling "Untitled #9" these days, sang for us. We didn't have a PA, so I think we had Shawn's mike going through my amp, but I don't remember, and all of it was captured into a four track recorder, I think. Real stone age setup, but I think Al Boo, our current soundman, would approve. ;)
I've been playing around with a midi version I did of the song I'm calling "Untitled #9" for years now. A few years ago, I went to Tim's, ex-Springboard tech, DJ, and all around great guy, and recorded some live tracks for it, but I wasn't really happy with it after I laid the tracks down, but that's nothing new. I hardly ever like how I sound or how I play on a recording, though I'm getting better the more I do it. Anyway, Joel is apparently calling this song "Imagine", after the first line in each verse, (Can you imagine the way I felt/As I struggle to free myself and Can you imagine a part of me/overcome with tranquility) because we never did have a name for it, at the time. (Even now, I'm not married to "Untitled #9", it's really my default title, when I don't have one.) Anyway, this is the first known recording of this song, and while it sounds decent enough, we're not that good. There are some great moments, but we're not really in synch at all, not as tight as we really should be. Honestly, I don't think I really knew to play with a drummer at this point. But, it certainly does have potential. And one day I love to record it for real and since if we can't make a hit of it or something.
The other song "Bumpkin", is something we kinda made up, and I wrote really embarrasingly stupid lyrics for. (No, I won't share them.) Shawn improvised all that stuff during the intro, and I can't even tell what he's saying half the time. It's also not a horrible song, it's a little tighter than the other one, but not by much . Again Shawn sings for us, my less than stellar lyrics. You can clearly hear a lot of Rush in this song, though the guys in Allan's Jacket say it sounds like a punked out version of Cars by Gary Numan.;) Which surprised me, since I didn't really particularly like that song, but I guess things just seep into your unconscious and come out in weird ways somewhere down the line.
We had a couple other songs we were working on, if I recall. There was a latin beat number we never finished called "Tropical Depression" There was another song that I wrote called "What if I/For My Art" with really pretentious lyrics that I wrote for it, that I also won't share. It was very tight and rhythmic for the most part, until we got the bridge section when we all cut loose, which we liked to do alot, now that I remember. And there was one that Joel wrote that I called "Cement Garden" and wrote lyrics for based on the British art house film of the same name. Those lyrics are better, but still not fit for public consumption, IMNSHO. There were maybe one or two others that I'm not sure if I wrote before or after we split up.
Anyway, check these songs out here. You're looking for "bumpkin" and "Untitled #9 first recording".
Enjoy and let me know what you think. So far I've been enjoying the memories these songs bring back, and I'm glad I heard them again.


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